SALAH Al BANDAR, a former Lib-Deb councillor in Cambridgeshire who claims to be a “liberal, democratic Muslim” stands accused of being a hate-monger who has been orchestrating a vilification campaign against an outspoken Sudanese apostate, Nahla Mahmoud.
Mahmoud is an atheist and ex-Muslim who left Sudan when she decided that she could no longer live under the laws of an Islamic state. In Nahla’s view, Islamic law discriminates against women and minority groups. She was shocked to learn that Sharia councils existed in Britain. Nahla says sharia law should never be allowed to overrule secular law, which must apply to all people living in a modern democracy.
The secular campaigner and Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain spokesperson made her views clear in an interview on Channel 4 – and immediately after she began receiving death threats. She was labelled a “kafira” and “murtada” who had offended Islam and brought “fitnah”.
The threats were brought to the attention of the police who advised her that nothing could be done.
Al Bandar is said to have played a key role in threatening the safely of Mahmoud, and the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is now appealing to people to sign a letter calling on the authorities to investigate Al bandar’s bullying, harassment and threats, prosecute him and guarantee Mahmoud’s safety and security.
I am most concerned with the harassment by Mr Salah Al Bandar. Not only is he endangering my health and sense of safety and security in the UK, but he is also organising against me back in Sudan in ways that are potentially very dangerous for both myself and my family. As a consequence, my younger brother has been physically attacked in Sudan, my mother has been seriously threatened and I continue to get threats and have had to endure a number of cyber stalking episodes by Mr Al Bandar or his associates.
Al Bandar is a director at the Sudan Civic Foundation in the UK. Among the threats against Mahmoud detailed in the letter are the following:
On January 22, he posted an article in Arabic on the Sudanese Online Website (one of the most widely read websites in Sudan and throughout the Sudanese diaspora) entitled “A Sudanese woman announces that she is a ‘Kafira” on British TV”. In some parts of this article he says:
I will not forgive anyone who wants to start a battle against Islam and the beliefs of the people … Be aware of this ‘fitna’ and I know who is behind it and I will never have any mercy on her her … I will have no tolerance for anyone here who talks about freedom of belief or freedom of thought or any of the other clichés …
On January 25 he posted a new piece saying:
Infidel Mohamed Mahmoud Kassalawi is the one who organised this scandal from A to Z. He is looking for someone like Nahla to pass his scandalous agenda. …. I am against those who use her to offend people’s sanctities….
(Dr Mohamed Mahmoud is an academic and director of the Critical Centre for Religious Studies in the UK.)
On January 29, 2013, Al Bander added an article featuring Nahla with Maryam Namazie and Mohamed Mahmoud Photoshopped together with a background of a Facebook page he made up and named “Sudanese Atheists’ Page”. He also discussed the relationship of the three in a post on February 8. The article is full of lies, including that Maryam Namazie “trained” Nahla in “public activities against Islam” and that Mohamed Mahmoud “created this idol Nahla and presented her as a champion of freedom of expression”.
Also, he posted a screen shot of Nahla’s article published in “Left Foot Forward” about ‘Sharia implementations in the UK and elsewhere’ after adding a main headline into the article that read “Freedom of practicing ‘Luat’ and promoting it” (“ Luat” is a derogatory term for homosexuality).
On February 10 he posted:
I forbid anyone from trying to change Nahla’s scandal to a case worthy of support… It will all get back to them… Be cautioned! Be cautioned!… No excuses for those who have been warned!
I have signed the letter and would urge you to do so as well.
Incidentally, the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain is supporting the Central London Humanist Group’s Secular Europe March and Rally in London on Saturday, September 14.
Participants will assemble at 12.30pm in Temple Place, next to Temple Tube Station. The March will start at 1.00 pm and end in a Rally at Richmond Terrace, opposite Downing Street at around 2 pm.
Confirmed speakers include Sue Cox (Survivors Voice), Charlie Klendjian (Lawyers Secular Society), Rory Fenton (AHS President), Philosopher A C Grayling, Adam Knowles (Chair of GALHA – LGBT Humanists), Philosopher Stephen Law, Houzan Mahmoud (Organisation for Iraqi Women’s Freedom), Nahla Mahmoud (Council of Ex Muslims of Britain), Maryam Namazie (Fitnah, CEMB and One Law for All), Pragna Patel (Southall Black Sisters), Naomi Phillips (Chair of Labour Humanists), Nina Sankari (Polish Rationalist Association) and Anne Marie Waters (One Law for All) amongst others.